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PIA Press Release

Comelec IX presents 1.7M clean voters list; 65% OAVs cast ballots

by Mimi Bern-Edaga

Zamboanga City (April 18) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) IX reported that regional consolidated statistical data for the 2007 May polls has a clean list of 1.703,430 registered voters.

Over 82 thousand voters were registered in the new list of voters, comprising about 1.05% increase in the 2004 voter's list, Comelec IX Regional Director, Atty. Helen Flores disclosed.

Zamboanga del Norte posted the highest number of voters with 627,457 followed by Zamboanga del Sur with 518,698. Zamboanga CIty ranks 3rd with 357,054.

“With the new voters’ list, we expect that the coming elections will be cleaner and more credible," Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said.

The poll body was able to de-list a total of 1.13 million “unscrupulous" voters, bringing down to 45.5 million the number of qualified voters for the May polls, Sarmiento added.

In related developments, the COMELEC and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expect at least 65% of the 504,122 Filipinos who have registered for absentee voting will cast their ballots during the May polls.

Rafael Seguis, DFA undersecretary for Special Concerns, said the target is based on the participation rate in the 2004 elections.

Seguis, who is also chairman of the DFA’s Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) secretariat, appealed to the sense of patriotism of Filipinos overseas and asked them to exercise their right to vote.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo acknowledged that the OAV requirements of the law are the main reason for the low registration turnout for overseas absentee voting.

"Actually, even the last time it was low turnout, because there are conditions that make it difficult for overseas workers, especially in American. The [requirement to put in writing the] intention to come back to the Philippines and live here permanently is what makes it difficult for them," President Arroyo said in a pooled media interview.

But Arroyo added that what is important is that overseas Filipino are given the right to vote. (PIA-ZC) [top]

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